A GROUP of village enthusiasts is working hard to improve the look of Goostrey Railway Station by sweeping platforms, clearing weeds and tending tubs of plants and, in doing so, have uncovered a unique piece of history.

Friends of Goostrey station, known as FOGS, has found a large piece of sandstone, which was originally the keystone of the road bridge over the track.

It was removed so the bridge could be raised to allow electric trains to pass underneath.

At one time the stone was mounted on the platform but later it was removed.

“The real interest for us is the carving on the stone,” said Cyril Caulkin, parish councillor and chairman of FOGS.

“At the top there are two shields that have yet to be identified, and there are the letters MBR for Manchester Birmingham Railway below.

“In the lower half is the name of the engineer GW Buck and the date 1841. This is when the branch line from Manchester Store Street, later Piccadilly, to Crewe North Junction was completed.

“We plan to clean the stone and then erect it again on one of the platforms.”

George Watson Buck was the railway company’s chief engineer.

His book on oblique bridges was essential reading for railway engineers until the end of the 19th century.

Among his designs was the Stockport Viaduct, which gained Grade II listing in 1975.

Buck also designed the viaduct that carries the railway across the Dane Valley between Goostrey and Holmes Chapel.

This is made of red brick and sandstone, has 23 semi-circular arches and takes the line up to 34 metres above the river.

The structure was given a Grade II listing in 1987.

During the building of the railway, the population of Holmes Chapel rose from 406 in 1831 to 1,008 in 1841.

In 1851, it dropped to 555. There were 130 men and their families housed mainly in a shanty town in the valley.

As well as giving the station a make-over, FOGS is collecting and preserving memories, documents, postcards and photographs relating to Goostrey Railway Station.

The group is also keen to hear from people who may have had relatives who worked at Goostrey station or the adjacent coalyard.